Materiales de Construcción, Vol 62, No 307 (2012)

Concrete Durability Properties and Microstructural Analysis of Cement Pastes with Nopal Cactus Mucilage as a Natural Additive

S. Ramírez-Arellanes
CIIDIR Unidad Oaxaca, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Oaxaca, Mexico

P. F. de J. Cano-Barrita
CIIDIR Unidad Oaxaca, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Oaxaca, Mexico

F. Julián-Caballero
CIIDIR Unidad Oaxaca, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Oaxaca, Mexico

C. Gómez-Yañez
ESIQIE, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, México D.F., Mexico


The present study evaluated the addition of a 3% nopal cactus mucilage solution to cement pastes, in its effects on setting times, flow, hydration, and microstructure, as well as on capillary water absorption and chloride diffusion in concrete. Hydration was characterized through XRD and microstructure was characterized with SEM. The mucilage solution/cement and water/cement ratios tested were 0.30, 0.45, and 0.60. The results in cement pastes indicate that the addition of mucilage increases setting times, reduces flow, slows cement hydration, and inhibits the formation of calcium hydroxide crystals in comparison with the control. Capillary absorption was significantly reduced in concrete containing mucilage, and chloride diffusion coefficients dropped up to 20% in the mixture with a mucilage/cement ratio = 0.30. The mixture with a mucilage/cement ratio = 0.45 displayed marginal reduction, and the mixture with mucilage/cement ratio = 0.60 exhibited a diffusion coefficient that was greater than the control for the specimens without moist curing.


Organic admixture; Cement paste; Hydration products; Diffusion; X ray diffraction

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